Weekly Wrap-Up (14 May)

Weekly Wrap up SQUARE copyrighted




In happy news this week… I managed to have an hour out with my husband. The gorgeous weather coincided with his day off earlier this week so we went and sat in a lovely pub beer garden and had lunch outside. It was bliss to feel the sun on my skin and to just be outside for a little while. And it was wonderful to have time out with my husband and to just feel normal for a while. It’s been months since I’ve spent time outside and it made me so happy. This was our view 🙂

This week has been quite positive on the medical front but it means tough times ahead in the short term but will be worth it in the longer run. I’ve now managed to reduce my pain meds enough that I can switch to different meds, which will give me more control. In the short term this means my condition will be much worse due to sudden withdrawal and an increase in pain while my body adjusts. I’m trying to focus on the longer term when I will hopefully be better able to control my pain without feeling drugged up all the time. I’m only sharing this here as once the med change happens (it’s due to be in the next couple of days but it will depend on the NHS being back up and running) I will probably be around less for a little while. I may miss replying to comments here, or commenting and sharing your posts so please bear with me, I will be around as and when I can be.

I did have a productive couple of days at the start of last week and managed to write quite a few reviews and posts so I’ve got those scheduled. It means there will still be posts from me but I might not necessarily be around when the posts appear and links are tweeted.

This week I’ve finished reading four books:

The Zero by Jess Walter

This was my audio book for this week and I very much enjoyed listening to it. It’s a novel set around the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York but the main character is losing chunks of time and is increasingly confused so the story is told out of order. This book was so much more than I was expecting and I’m so glad that I stumbled upon it when sorting out my Kindle last week.

Fairytale Interrupted by RoseMarie Terenzio

This was an interesting book written by John F. Kennedy Jr.’s assistant. I enjoyed reading about the setting up of George magazine, and about John and Carolyn. I did find that Terenzio is a bit irritating at times but it didn’t stop me enjoying the book for the most part.

The Comfort of Others by Kay Langdale

This is a beautiful novel, one that I think I’ll be reading again in the future. I was sent this for review so I’m hoping to get my thoughts written up and posted very soon.

The Way Back Home by Freya North

I was such a fan of Freya North’s novels when she was first published but I haven’t read anything by her for a few years now. I’m not sure when I bought this book but I found it on my kindle last week and decided to read it right away. I really enjoyed it, it isn’t my favourite book by her but it was a good read. I especially loved that Cat and Django from an earlier novel featured in this novel, it was nice to see how they both were.


This week I’ve blogged seven times:

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up

Monday: Guest post by Paul E. Hardisty about the evolution of his protagonist Claymore Stryker as part of the Reconciliation for the Dead blog tour

Tuesday: Review of Little Deaths by Emma Flint

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday

Thursday: Review of The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

Friday: Review of The People at Number 9 by Felicity Everett

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves


This is what I’m currently reading:

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

I started reading this yesterday and am already engrossed. Eleanor Oliphant is a great character and it feels like she could be one of those characters that really stays with me after I finish the book.

The Light We Lost by Jill

I started reading this last night and it’s got me hooked. I’m intrigued by where the story is going and what happened between these two people.

The Honeymoon by Tina Seskis

This book is so gripping, it grabbed me on the first page and I begrudge having to put the book down when real life intervenes on my reading time.

Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner

This is another book that has been on my TBR for ages – I actually bought it when it was published but never got around to reading it. I’ve discovered the audio version is part of my subscription service so I’m part listening and part reading it. I’m really enjoying it and am intrigued to know where the story is going.

Fragile Lives by Stephen Westaby

This is an incredible memoir of a top heart surgeon and I’ve been fascinated by the various surgeries that he has been involved with, or has pioneered himself. I’d recommend this book to everyone.

How to Survive a Plague by David France

I’ve read another chapter of this book this week and am really engrossed in it now. It’s a similar book to And the Band Played on by Randy Schilts, and some of the same people do feature but a different perspective is given so it’s fascinating. I do find it utterly horrifying how various political elements stopped the cause of AIDS being known sooner.



Update on my TBR:

TBR at the start of January 2017: 1885 (see my State of the TBR post)

TBR in last week’s Wrap-Up: 1934


Books bought/received for review/gifts: 8


Books read this week: 4

Books I’m currently reading: 6

TBR Books culled this week: 0


TBR now stands at: 1932

Woo hoo! My TBR has gone down by two, which I’m very happy with. 🙂


I’m linking this post up to Kimberly at Caffeinated Book Reviewer’s Sunday Blog Share.  It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.


How has your week been? What have you been reading? Please share in the comments below. If you write a wrap-up on your blog please feel free to share the link. 🙂


Paul E. Hardisty on Claymore Stryker | Reconciliation of the Dead #blogtour @OrendaBooks


Today I’m thrilled to be on the Orenda blog tour for Reconciliation of the Dead by Paul E. Hardisty. Paul has written a brilliant guest post about the evolution of Claymore Stryker for my stop.


The Evolution of Claymore Stryker

In the opening scene of my new novel, Reconciliation for the Dead, the lead character, Claymore Straker, is in Maputo, Mozambique, considering his future. It is 1997, and he is on the run, again. The events of the last few years (described in the first book of the series, the CWA Creasy New Blood Dagger shortlisted The Abrupt Physics of Dying, set in Yemen during the 1994 civil war; and the second book, The Evolution of Fear, set largely in Cyprus and Istanbul in 1995) are behind him now, but still raw in his memory.

He has just finished testifying to Desmond Tutu’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, having returned to South Africa for the first time since being dishonourably discharged from the army and sent into exile over fifteen years earlier. Over three days of testimony, Clay takes us on a journey into the darkest chapter of his country’s history, revealing the horrifying events that led to him abandoning everything he was raised to believe in. It is 1980, Clay is a young paratrooper, fighting on the front lines in South Africa’s war against the communist insurgency in Angola. On a patrol deep behind enemy lines, Clay is confronted by an act of the most shocking brutality. It will change him forever. Wounded in battle, struggling to make sense of what he has witnessed, Clay tries to uncover the dark secret behind those events, and what lies hidden in apartheid’s murky core.

For fourteen years, Clay tries to forget the past, buries it deep. But as the years go by, his post-traumatic stress worsens. Then, working for an oil company in Yemen, everything starts to unravel, and the horrors of war come flooding back. As civil war erupts, he meets Rania LaTour, a French journalist. She becomes the dominant influence in his life. In the face of the terrible injustice he witnesses, he must decide whether to act, or turn away and abandon his friends. Later, in Cyprus, increasingly beguiled and influenced by Rania, he recognises his need for absolution, and realises that he must go back and tell the truth about what happened all those years ago in South Africa. Only then, he believes, will he find a measure of peace, and perhaps become the man Rania deserves.

As the series continues into its fourth, and quite possibly final, instalment (The Debased and the Faithful, due out in 2018), Clay continues to evolve as a person. In a way, I consider the series more a fictional biography in four parts, than a traditional crime series. The situations into which he is thrust, into which he drives himself, are the direct consequence of the events and the people that have shaped him. Each exerts its own unique influence, and together, combine to make him the person he is destined to become.  How it will all end, I don’t quite know yet. All I know is that Clay’s journey is not over, and is about to get a whole lot more difficult. Rania’s too.


About the Book


Fresh from events in Yemen and Cyprus, vigilante justice-seeker Claymore Straker returns to South Africa, seeking absolution for the sins of his past. Over four days, he testifies to Desmond Tutu’s newly established Truth and Reconciliation Commission, recounting the shattering events that led to his dishonourable discharge and exile, fifteen years earlier.

It was 1980. The height of the Cold War. Clay is a young paratrooper in the South African Army, fighting in Angola against the Communist insurgency that threatens to topple the White Apartheid regime. On a patrol deep inside Angola, Clay, and his best friend, Eben Barstow, find themselves enmeshed in a tangled conspiracy that threatens everything they have been taught to believe about war, and the sacrifices that they, and their brothers in arms, are expected to make. Witness and unwitting accomplice to an act of shocking brutality, Clay changes allegiance and finds himself labelled a deserter and accused of high treason, setting him on a journey into the dark, twisted heart of institutionalised hatred, from which no one will emerge unscathed.

Exploring true events from one of the most hateful chapters in South African history, Reconciliation for the Dead is a shocking, explosive and gripping thriller from one finest writers in contemporary crime fiction.

About the Author

Paul Hardisty

Canadian by birth, Paul Hardisty has spent 25 years working all over the world as an engineer, hydrologist and environmental scientist. He has roughnecked on oil rigs in Texas, explored for gold in the Arctic, mapped geology in Eastern Turkey (where he was befriended by PKK rebels), and rehabilitated water wells in the wilds of Africa. He was in Ethiopia in 1991 as the Mengistu regime fell, and was bumped from one of the last flights out of Addis Ababa by bureaucrats and their families fleeing the rebels. In 1993 he survived a bomb blast in a café in Sana’a, and was one of the last Westerners out of Yemen before the outbreak of the 1994 civil war. Paul is a university professor and Director of Australia’s national land, water, ecosystems and climate adaptation research programmes. He is a sailor, a private pilot, keen outdoorsman, conservation volunteer, and lives in Western Australia with his family.

You can find Paul on twitter: @Hardisty_Paul

(Bio taken from Orenda Books website)


You can follow the rest of this blog tour at the stops on the poster below:

Reconciliation for the Dead Blog Tour poster